Putting down the French, no matter how trivial the issue, is just too easy for many journalists, pundits and talking heads.In the last month we were graced with surrender jokes by CBS’s Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and “surrender monkey” slurs from a Jonah Goldberg Canadian Mini-Me known as Don Martin.
On Friday, Sean Michaels, a columnist with the British paper The Guardian covered the French Eurovision flap over Sébastien Tellier’s English lyrics by stating: “in true French fashion, (Tellier) appears to have surrendered.”
Eurovision is an awful little contest, a European Idol if you wish, where contestants from each country in the E.U. compete for a title that will ensure complete and utter musical oblivion. The fact the French singer chose to sing his original composition in English caused somewhat of a ruckus in the French press. But for what reason would a British journalist evoke the most painful moment in French history to lambaste the Eurovision flap?
Sean Michaels is free to write what he wishes, but this demonstrates once again our theory of the “Long Tail” and “Trickle Down Hatred”. Had the French government issued strong protests on a regular basis during the United States Official French Bashing policy (2003-2007), we would not be here today.
Instead, the Quai d’Orsay, France’s Foreign Ministry, chose the hands off approach, a tactical mistake of epic proportions. The Anglo-American cultural sphere is now saturated with anti-French prejudice, the likes of which will live on for years.
Note: In statistics, the long tail is a feature of the new distribution of online markets and human behaviour. Prominently featured in articles about Web 2.0, the concept might just as well apply to the politics of bigotry and parrot-like punditry.